Category Five

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  • Format: Hardcover
  • Copyright: 2009-06-01
  • Publisher: Univ Pr of Florida
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A frightening account of the first Category 5 storm to strike the U.S. "A gripping account. . . . Winds were so strong that they tore babies from the arms of their parents. Over four hundred people lost their lives, including over two hundred veterans of World War I. It was a tragedy that did not have to happen."--John Wallace Viele, author ofThe Florida Keys: A History of the Pioneers "Makes for fascinating reading about a period of time when science, politics, and nature converged, resulting in disaster."--Rodney E. Dillon Jr., Vice President, Past Perfect Florida History, Inc. In the midst of the Great Depression, a furious storm struck the Florida Keys with devastating force. With winds estimated at over 225 miles per hour, it was the first recorded Category 5 hurricane to make landfall in the United States. Striking at a time before storms were named, the catastrophic tropical cyclone became known as the 1935 Labor Day Hurricane, and its aftermath was felt all the way to Washington, D.C. In the hardest hit area of the Florida Keys, three out of every five residents were killed, while hundreds of World War I veterans sent there by the federal government perished. By sifting through overlooked official records and interviewing survivors and the relatives of victims, Thomas Knowles pieces together this dramatic story, moment by horrifying moment. He explains what daily life was like on the Keys, why the veteran work force was there (and relatively unprotected), the state of weather forecasting at the time, the activities of the media covering the disaster, and the actions of government agencies in the face of severe criticism over their response to the disaster. The Labor Day Hurricane of 1935 remains one of the most intense to strike Americars"s shores.Category 5is a sobering reminder that even with modern meteorological tools and emergency management systems, a similar storm could cause even more death and destruction today.

Author Biography

Thomas Neil Knowles is a retired college administrator who served as an officer in the U.S. Navy from 1962 to 1969. Born and raised in Key West, he writes frequently on the history of the Florida Keys.

Table of Contents

Preface and Acknowledgmentsp. ix
Mapsp. xi
Prologuep. 1
Key West's Reluctant Weathermanp. 5
Ready or Notp. 15
Rosalind and the Georgesp. 24
The Veteransp. 39
The Civiliansp. 52
Friday and Saturdayp. 73
Sundayp. 89
Labor Day: Preludep. 108
Labor Day Afternoonp. 123
Labor Day Eveningp. 138
The Surge: Part 1p. 164
The Surge: Part 2p. 179
The Resurgencep. 195
Tuesday: Part 1p. 208
Tuesday: Part 2p. 221
Saving the Survivorsp. 235
Saving the Shipsp. 252
The Harvestp. 263
Assessing the Damagep. 277
Assigning the Blamep. 289
Endings and Beginningsp. 303
Epiloguep. 319
Exhibitsp. 321
Selected Bibliographyp. 333
Illustration Creditsp. 335
Indexp. 337
Table of Contents provided by Ingram. All Rights Reserved.

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